The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) recently released its Young People and Gambling Survey for 2023, a thorough examination of the gambling habits and experiences of individuals aged 11 to 17. This information is crucial in evaluating the effectiveness of current youth gambling prevention measures and in helping lawmakers make well-informed decisions.

This latest survey marks an expansion from previous reports, including a wider age range that now encompasses 17-year-olds in year 12 and students from independent schools. The study involved 3,453 online participants from England, Scotland, and Wales, providing a comprehensive overview of young people’s involvement in various gambling activities.

The overall results of the survey remained consistent with last year’s findings, but the report noted a 5% decrease in overall gambling participation, suggesting that existing youth gambling prevention measures have had a positive impact. Excluding arcade games, only 4% of participants engaged in regulated gambling, which is hopefully the beginning of a positive trend.

The report also highlighted a 10% decrease in exposure to gambling advertisements among 11-17-year-olds, both online and offline. Despite this decline, 15% of participants followed a gambling company on social media platforms, primarily on YouTube (10%), TikTok (9%), and Instagram (7%). These findings are valuable for the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) in its efforts to limit underage exposure to gambling content.

Approximately 26% of individuals aged 11 to 17 actively gambled with their own money over the past year, with arcade gaming machines being the most popular activity at 19% participation, followed by 11% of respondents betting with friends and family. Online gambling participation remained consistent, with 1% of children spending money on esports betting or iGaming.

The report also revealed specific percentages related to problem gambling, with 0.7% identified as problem gamblers, 1.5% at risk, and 23% classified as non-problem gamblers. Approximately 74% of respondents did not actively participate in gambling over the past year, marking an increase from the previous figure of 2.4% among at-risk gamblers.

The Commission urged industry stakeholders to consider the report and understand the reasons behind gambling behaviors and the contexts in which these activities occur. The observed decreases in gambling rates are a direct result of the UKGC and BGC’s continued vigilance. The upcoming White Paper aims to introduce additional youth protection measures and could set a new standard for youth protection across the UK.

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